Nonprofit leaders compose wish lists for Santa Claus

THE OLYMPIANDecember 18, 2011 

When the slightly overweight, jolly, bearded fellow in the always-stylish red suit drops down your chimney on Christmas Eve, what do you hope he leaves under your tree?

Most us have lowered our expectations this year. We’re hoping to keep our jobs, keep our homes or keep our families together.

The most needy among us just want to have “hope.” They hope government funding won’t disappear, that they can continue to operate free medical clinics, food banks and offer refuge for those in unhealthy relationships.

In that spirit, I asked the leaders of some nonprofit organizations what was on their Christmas wish list this year. Here’s what they told me:

“My Christmas wish is for the time and talents of community members to help Left Foot to grow over the next five years into a truly sustainable organization with a permanent home. If you value what we do – bringing dignity, purpose and meaning to people with developmental disabilities through paid employment growing organic food – help us secure the farmland and build the infrastructure that will keep Left Foot growing and serving for the next generation.” – Ann Vandeman, Left Foot Organics.

“The greatest gift would be for each person reading your column to take 30 seconds to close their eyes, breathe deep, and imagine the world they want to live in. Then acknowledge the difference of world as it is, and take one step to close that gap. My Christmas wish is for more people in our community to enrich their own life by contributing their time, talents, money, and civic voice to a more just and sustainable world.” – Kim Gaffi, GRuB.

“Our work is to improve the quality of early learning at centers and at home. Materials we could use are new or gently used board books, toddler-size tables and chairs, infant and toddler toys, little purses, play money, pretend food and dishes, clean hats and costumes for dress up.” – Annie Cubberly, Child Care Action Council.

“If Santa were to help SafePlace this year he would end sexual and domestic violence and deliver the message that everyone has the right to a happy childhood, no matter how old they are. SafePlace needs active community support. Donated gift cards for gas, emergency food and diapers for their children. And Santa, we need the essential-living items of toilet paper, paper towels, phone long-distance cards and Intercity Transit daily bus passes. And dear Santa, our last wish is that the state budget will stretch to protect survivors and their families.” – Mary Pontarolo, SafePLace.

“Dear Santa – My simple Christmas wish is that every child everywhere will grow up in a loving home and surrounding community that is safe, stable, secure and supportive. Please be sure parents have the necessary knowledge, tools, resources, and support to raise their children to be successful, happy adults. Eliminate all forms of child abuse, neglect and cruelty. Be sure that parents avoid substance abuse and alcohol. Give all families access to quality, reliable health care.” – Charles Shelan, Community Youth Services.

“United Way wishes that every person would become more deeply engaged by contributing their time and money to help improve and sustain our wonderful community. Giving money helps our network of strong nonprofits provide services; improving lives every day. Volunteers are critical to all nonprofits and leverages staff resources, which allow them to focus on their mission. We wish for all to experience peace, joy and hope in this Holiday Season the throughout the coming year.” – Paul Knox, United Way.

ET CETERA

Now we know what happens to Lacey city managers when they retire: They bag their first hole-in-ones on the golf course. Greg Cuoio pulled out a 6-iron on the 167-yard 16th hole at the Fort Lewis course three weeks ago and found the cup … Tis the season for random acts of kindness. A woman walked into the Yelm Walmart recently with $5,000 cash, and paid for all the layaway items by single mothers ... Our heart-warming story published on Tuesday about the puppy, Scamp, who appeared to have died, but came back to life after a frigid night outside, has gone national. Scamp’s family was interviewed via phone for the “Today” show and is scheduled to appear on “The View” on Monday.

George Le Masurier, publisher of The Olympian, can be reached at 360-357-0206 or glemasurier@theolympian.com.

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